Long armed touchdown passes, sixty-five yard field goals with room to spare, and cut scenes after a critical sack are back. Tecmo delivers to us a full refresh of an old classic. If you were a fan of the original Tecmo Bowl you will enjoy Tecmo Bowl Throwback.

In the early 90s, I played many football games–  from Madden to NFL Quarterback Club, but I always came back to Tecmo as my game of choice. I loved the simplicity of the controls and how easy the scores could be run up. Tecmo Bowl Throwback brings us back to this much simpler time of football gaming, and I for one welcome it!

This review will be covering the PS3 version of the game. It is available now on the PlayStation Network for $9.99. So now lets jump into the details.

The Looks:

It’s clear that the team at Tecmo spent some serious time sprucing up the look of the game. The new HD graphics really make Throwback very enjoyable, and it felt like I was playing the original Tecmo for the first time all over again. There is a cool feature with this re-design, in that if you press the R1 shoulder button, you can switch between the 16:9 HD view and the classic 4:3 view. As embarrassing as it may be, I found this feature by accident as I was mashing buttons. I was surprised when it happened and actually laughed out loud. Now, you might not want to play a whole game that way, but it is something cool to do once and a while just for the nostalgia of it.

They have some cheerleaders in the game as well. And if you like twins, this remake was meant for you, because they have about six cheerleaders showing at a given time, but in reality, they are just three set of twins. My guess is that the developers either ran out of time and could not create three more unique cheerleaders, or they were just lazy and figured no one would notice.

The Teams:

Without an NFL license, the developers could not really put in any real names or logos. What they did give us though, was the ability to change the city names and player names. So if you wanted to take the time to key in the roster to your favorite team, you could do just that, though there wasn’t any choice of logos or the ability to change a team’s colors unfortunately.

The Gameplay:

I think this is where the game stays true to it’s predecessors the most. There are only eight plays to choose from (four run and four passes) regardless of what side of the ball you are on. When on defense, if you pick the same play as your opponent, you automatically perform an all-out blitz. This brought back a ton or memories for me and will likely do the same for other long time fans.

You have the ability to choose plays from a separate playbook (even when you are in a game) but you can still only have the eight base plays active on your screen at a time.

As far as game modes, there are a few  you can choose from.

On the Single Player side you have:

Preseason – you can play a quick game, that means nothing. It is a great way to get a feel for the game.

Season – There are a few built-in seasons that you can play. Just like the old Tecmo Bowl, it will simulate the other games until it gets to yours, then you can play.

TECMO All Stars – you can play with the bets players from each conference.

On the multplayer side you have:

Local Multiplayer – Play with a friend (or enemy) who just so happens to be with you.

Online Multiplayer – From here you can do a quick match – just find a random player, a custom match, you set the field conditions and time limit, anyone can join this. Then there is a Create Match feature which allows you to create ranked or player matches, or even a private match.

I found the multiplayer matches to be a bit laggy for me. They were still playable, so I can’t complain too much. And don’t worry too much if your button memory doesn’t come back immediately, Tecmo Bow Throwback has a nice little How to Play tutorial built right in.

Conclusion:

Overall I love the simplicity that is this game. It’s my opinion that there is a market for this type of game. Especially as Madden gets more and more complex and realistic. This is just the opposite and fans of old school sports gaming will enjoy it.

It is meant to be a quick and enjoyable game. Yes, of course it is missing many features that you would expect from most modern football games, but this game never pretended to be that. Heck, it even has Throwback in the title. I really enjoyed playing this and while the trip novelty does wear off over time, it’s still a fun addition to your gaming library.

I wish it didn’t have the online lag, and a little less repetition in the graphics would have been nice too. It is not a perfect game, but it’s fun to play. Oh and in case you were wondering, the answer is yes — you can still throw a 100 yard touchdown pass in the air :-)

Tecmo Bowl Throwback was developed by SouthEnd/Tecmo and published by Tecmo for the Xbox 360 (XBLA) and PlayStation 3 (PSN). The game released in the United States on April 28th (XBLA) and June 1st (PSN) with a retail price of $9.99 USD. The copy used in this review was for the PSN and purchased by Ripten. The game was played for several hours across single player and multiplayer modes for the purpose of this review.